Freeing Education

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 17, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa has backed a plan to liberalize university education and set up a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the quality of foreign and local higher education, an official said. A proposal for a ‘National policy framework on higher education and technical and vocational education’ to revamp higher education, has been drawn up by Sri Lanka’s policy-making National Education Commission (NEC).

“The commission wants to establish non-state degree awarding institutions,” Dayantha Wijeyesekera, chairman of Sri Lanka Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission and member of the apex National Education Commission told reporters.

“The President has also given his consent, the President was happy with our proposals”

Since 1978, Sri Lanka’s president has sweeping powers, which are controversial and there have been calls to trim them. The president won a second term in a landslide victory in January and the ruling coalition was returned to power in parliamentary polls in April.

Sri Lanka has had a state monopoly in degree awarding and attempts to break it grip have been resisted by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a Marxist-National party which has a strong grip in the stat